Spiritual Musings from an Educated Redneck

An inside look of the mind of Pirate Pops

I’m Mad as Hell

“It came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.”  Exodus 32:19

I just got the phone call that young Jay Menifee, age 24 was found dead in his apartment.  We don’t know yet if it was the “Money Shot” that intravenous drug users refer to when they purposely overdose to end their life or if it was accidental.  Jay was a drug addict that we had been working with for the past year and a half.  He had a little daughter not yet in kindergarten. When the call came in I was driving down the street.  I felt like someone had hit me in the gut with a sledge-hammer.  I had to pull over for 15 minutes to cry and mourn.  Once they started the tears wouldn’t stop.  He had been doing so well from where he was when he came to us nearly two years ago.  He had been sober.  He had gotten a good job with a friend of mine in the HVAC business and was doing a good job. He had a natural aptitude for mechanical things.   He had gotten his own apartment.  He was involved in church.  Now he is dead and I’m mad as hell.

I’m not mad at Jay.  I feel a deep sense of loss and sadness for Jay.  Such a young life with so much potential wasted.  I feel sadness for his little girl who won’t have her daddy to watch her grow up and who won’t be there for her at those crucial times of her life.  That is my sadness.  No I’m not mad at Jay.  Some might say, “Well James why are you so upset?  He was just a low-life drug addict who got what he had coming to him.”  No, he was a human being for whom Jesus died and he was a very very sick person.

I’m mad as hell at the worthless vermin who peddle the drugs!  I’m mad as hell at the scumbag that sold the drugs to Jay.  Right now I would give a great deal to have just five minutes alone with him in a locked room.  I’m afraid only one of us would walk out of that room.  Is it bad for a pastor to say that or even think it?  So be it.  I guess I’m just not a very good pastor because I mean it with everything that is within me.

The next week when we held Jay’s memorial service it was a packed house.  People got up and spoke and as people are want to do they spoke a lot about good memories of Jay and there was even laughter.  I understand the need for people to do that but something was boiling up in me.  Then as I sat there, waiting for my time to get up and wrap the service up, Jay’s little girl wandered over to me, put her arms around my neck and hugged me.  That sent me over the edge.  Her daddy should have been there for her to hug and he wasn’t.  He never would be again. In fact, one week ago he had been a living, breathing being, and now he was nothing but a pile of ashes.

I stood up and said, “I’m mad as Hell.”  This thing here tonight is a pig pure and simple.  A nasty, smelly pig.  No matter how much lipstick we put on this pig its still a pig.  This is a pure tragedy, and nothing we say or do is going to change that.  I have nothing tonight to feel good about, to laugh about, or to smile about. This is a pig and it’s a huge tragedy.

It was less than a year ago that I got the call about Shane Higgins.  Shane wasn’t a drug addict like Jay.  Shane was an alcoholic.  He abused the legal drug of alcohol.  He did it in fact to the point that the organs of his body shut completely down and he died.  He was 39.  We had worked with Shane for about six months before he went back out to his drug.  He was dead three months after he left us.  My own father died the same way at the ripe old age of 41.  Shane outdid him by two years. Shane was the first alcoholic I ever met who beat my dad to the grave simply from the abuse of alcohol.  Shane was no doubt a top-notch, professional, git-er-done alcoholic in order to accomplish that!

I guess the call today reminded me of the sadness and loss I felt when I got the call about Shane, and perhaps my own father when I was just 18 years of age.

It reminded me also that I guess I’m mad as hell at so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who treat the legal drug of alcohol with such a cavalier attitude while it wreaks havoc on families and individuals in our culture many times more than illegal drugs.

That’s the dirty little secret that most don’t want to talk about.  But it’s legal so we scream about our “freedom” to drink socially and the Shane’s and the Jay’s of this world who will “die if they drink” don’t get a whole lot of support from us.  We are exercising our “freedom in Christ” after all and if you have a problem with it then sorry.  That makes me mad as hell!

James M.Reeves, DMin.

Senior Pastor, Celebration Fellowship, Ft. Worth, Texas

Author:  Refuge (How Hospital Church Ministry Can Change Your Church Forever)

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16 thoughts on “I’m Mad as Hell

  1. jennifer on said:

    I am mad for the same reason, but I vow to be a positive influence in that little girls life, that is what I can do!

  2. Debbie B on said:

    I’m mad as hell too. Know what I’m mad about? I’m mad at the enemy who preys upon the young, enticing them to think it’s more fun over there on that other side of the fence. It has taken me an entire adulthood to undo the weight of carrying the world’s lie that there is more fun and happiness on that picture over there….across the room…where they are drinking and laughing and seem to have not a care in the world. I’m mad because I believed those lies, and I have buckets of regrets as a result. I’m mad because others believed that same thing and found themselves swallowed up in addiction. While I am forgiven, I still carry the weight of believing those lies. The enemy is such and liar….and that makes me mad as hell too. He preys upon the weak, and that really makes me mad. I hope my own history of believing the lies will afford me the opportunity to spare someone else from being quite as mad as I am 🙂

  3. So sorry for your loss, James.

  4. gloria coffman on said:

    what a mournful waste of life. i’am so sorry James.

  5. Kathy Carter on said:

    It’s time we all got mad as hell about some things. It is my understanding that we are to hate what God hates and I know he hates these drugs and what they do. So sorry James for your loss, but inspired by your passion to reach those who are struggling with addiction. Apathy is an epedemic in this country. Refreshing to read such unapologetic truth .

  6. Thank you James. I’m just hurting and missing him. Can’t feel much anger. Just pain.

  7. Thank you for your love for Jay James. I love to hear how much people cared about him.
    I can’t look at my life and how many times I failed him as a friend and not point the finger at myself. I hate that people sell drugs and that people do them but I don’t hate either of them. I want both of them to know how much Jesus loves them. I just can’t look at the sin in my life and say that someone elses is worse.
    I miss my friend. I hope I see him again.

  8. Thank you James. My heart breaks over the loss of someone so dear to me & my family. Thank you for seeing past his weakness and standing beside me as I remember him as a kind, gentle, loving person.

  9. Jimmie Clemmons on said:

    All too often people fail to love the sinner and hate the sin. This world is so critical of the symptoms, yet uphold and support the problems while enforcing “rights”. One has to ask himself, is supporting something that kills right? Drugs and alcohol kill. We must always remember too that the dealer and addict are both sick and in bondage to sin. Might we pray the blood of Jesus on both; Christ died and paid the ransom for all sin. I pray that Christ may abound all the more in this situation. May God heal and guide the hurt of this family. May the Holy Spirit convict the dealer, and may The Hospital church be a sanctuary for all vermin who repent, addicts and dealers alike.

  10. Karen Byrum on said:

    I love all of these responses. So many wonderful people out there. Thank you.

  11. As a Celebrate Recovery Ministry leader and an ex-alcoholic myself, I first understand your feelings and people deal with loss and mourn in different ways. I know it’s ok to be “Mad as Hell” and I don’t know you personally, but I was really hoping to see in your post a comment that said… “I’m mad as hell at the vermin, and will pray for their salvation and repentance”.

  12. Yeah, I was always saying “recovering…” too, for years in recovery when I was depending upon self, not putting my faith in a Saviour and healer. My “diseases and addictions, and bad behaviors…unwed sex, cursing, stealing, being dishonest, you name it…we’re rampant, self-will run riot!” Then I got serious and realized they were but symptoms of sin and not living a sanctified life of genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Just like I put down using, selling, stealing…I put down the 12 steps and picked up my Bible-after I got off of my knees. I found plenty of steps in that book. I surrendered to God and died to self. Christ healed me through my faith, or at least took away the compulsion. What I realize today is that sanctification is a forward process and I have to keep believers around me for support. Jim B was my first step, after kneeling before the cross when i finished 11+ years in prison. But I relied on God’s plan not programs. Don’t get me wrong I am still active in recovery, so I can give to others what I have, so I can keep it. There are stages. Repent and be saved! Repent and get up and walk! Romans 1 tells me what I have coming if I know what is behind me and choose to go back and get some more. God gives choice to go with that sinful nature. I overcome in Him, or I get turned over to lusts of the flesh…not alcoholism, not addiction-sin that grows and consumes! Call it what you want:disease? I think that is for the world of flesh to believe. I serve a God that is very much larger than that next drink or hit, but I can have either. Choice is freedom, or choice is bondage, it is the heart of a man that defiles him, not substance. If you can’t overcome everything OF this world, you are not serving the risen Christ. Please be careful to cast doubt where you should be sowing seeds of faith and hope in Christ. Sincerely an ex-offender of all things as long as I keep dying to self. Sin is around every corner, at each next step in this life if I choose to get off in it. Drugs are on most corners, alcohol is everywhere, churches on every block and service to the Kingdom is at hand. How great is my God! How great is yours?

    • I don’t intend to debate this with you here but You obviously didn’t really read my reply.
      However the steps are biblical truth to their core each one. I would depend on nothing but Christ and His Eternal, perfect, and infallible truth. If you put down the principles upon which the Steps are based you did put down the Word of God because that is where they came from regardless of how secular humanists have distorted them. Be careful about throwing out the Baby with the bath water.

      • James, I love you. I know you. I even went to The Hospital Church for awhile. I love you guys work. I want to speak the truth in love here. Let us keep the steps behind the inspired Word. “All things are new…” People should know that God will deliver them. They have a choice. I do not knock programs at all. I still participate to help the newcomer, but until Christ is first, and faith is present, self is denied, and sanctification is practiced…why bother? Ex-wives are ex-until you pick them up again and remarry them. Are you recovering from her or moving beyond you past? One need not always be an alcoholic if one lives a sanctified, bought by the blood life. I just hope that is your message. Bondage need not be a part of “the new creature”.

  13. Jim, one last word and it will be enough. If you apply your reasoning to any sin and think that you are “forever” delivered from that sin you are going to be susceptible to its deception again eventually. sanctification by its very definition is a process not an event. I am daily “being” sanctified as I daily die to self. The day I begin to think I have died to self once and for all is the day I am in my pride and the flesh will reign. Whether its an addiction or attitude. That’s why the idea that I’ m an “ex” anything until I see Him as He is and am transformed eternally into His image is scary to me. Romans 7 was Paul’s dissertation on that truth and if it was true of him it is certainly true of me.

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